The 2017‐2018 school year has come to an end as the 46th class of seniors have graduated from Mission Valley High School. It is always interesting to look back and see how the school has changed over the years from open classrooms and gravel roads to what we have today. The question always remains though…..what will we need for the future? What will education be like in 13 years when the incoming Kindergarten class of Fall 2018 graduates in the Spring of 2031? 

Planning for the near future is challenging enough….trying to plan for education 13 years from now is even more challenging. Although technology will advance, systems of how to deliver education will change but will children really change? Children will always need the love and support from adult caregivers, they will always need to be taught “how to be a good person”, they will always need our protection and guidance. To provide the level of education needed there is also the need for appropriate financial support from the state. 

Currently, the Kansas Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments over the Gannon School Finance case on whether or not the current funding provided by the Legislature is adequate to support the educational needs of the public school students in the State. Current school funding is slightly lower than the funding levels in 2005‐2006. The Legislature recently had a cost study done and the results indicated that the amount of funding being provided by the Legislature did not meet the adequacy level. This is not the first time that a cost study was conducted that indicated the funding being provided by the state was inadequate 

It is being requested that the Legislature add an additional $500 million to the 2018‐2019 school finance plan and that an additional $2 billion be phased in several years to address the funding lost by public schools. The Kansas Supreme Court has sent the standard for adequacy as enabling “all” student to meet or exceed seven standards of educational competence, from basic 2 skills to preparation for college and career. What would more money mean for USD 330 Mission Valley? Additional money could be used to: 1) add additional student contact days back into the school calendar, 2) provide additional learning opportunities (after school/summer school) for students who struggle, 3) hire additional staff to support struggling learners and At‐Risk students, 4) expand learning opportunities to help student become better prepared for life after high school, 5) expand professional development for staff, 6) update textbooks and educational resources, and other areas that need addressed if additional funding was available. 

The Court is expected to make a decision by June 30th, however, that leaves little margin for error because on July 1 a new fiscal year starts and per the Kansas Constitution there must be a school finance formula in place that meets the requirements of the constitution in place for school districts to be legally able to operate. If the Legislature’s action is found to be insufficient, the state has asked that districts be able to operate during the upcoming year and that the Legislature will be allowed to work next session to bring funding into compliance. Last year, the Supreme Court did allow that, however, it is unknown at this time if another chance will be given. 

Have a GREAT summer break and we look forward to seeing everyone for the 2018‐2019 school year.

Yours in Education,

Bill Clark, Superintendent